Washington Square

This neighborhood takes its name from the sprawling green square of Washington Square Park. Bustling with tourists, students and business professionals, Washington Square is particularly residential. The park is a must and the historical district is something you should visit at least once. But there are also a few other great finds that we recommend you visit.

Photo © R. Kennedy for GPTMC

Insider Tips

Washington Square Park was named after George Washington.

The building that houses the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent was the original home of the Franklin Institute.

Washington Square is accessible by SEPTA.

New bike lanes make this neighborhood even easier to get around. Pine Street’s bike lane runs west to east, Spruce Street goes east to west.

Head’s up—you’re in Franklin Country. Ben Franklin, that is. The nation’s oldest hospital—Pennsylvania Hospital—founded by Franklin, still stands at 9th and Spruce, and it is rumored that the founding father’s legendary key experiment took place at 12th and Chestnut.

On a Budget

Mostly Books $
259 S. 10th St.
Lovers of eclectic assortments including movies and old photographs and artwork rejoice in this quaint shop. Oh, and they swap books!


Santa Fe Burrito $
212 S. 11th St.
The 2010 winner of the Main Line Times’ “Best Mexican Food” offers lots of extra love for students, including discounts and coupons.


Effies $$
1127 Pine St.
If you’re looking for great (and affordable) Greek food, try this cozy eatery! Effies offers outside seating and there are a variety of food options—try the fried calamari, the grilled feta or one of their vegetarian choices. You don’t have to worry about having cash—Effies accept credit cards, so you can focus on your date instead of the check.


Reading Terminal Market $
12th & Filbert Sts.
Reading Terminal has been around since 1893 and has many different vendors; so many, that the market actually has a map on its website. Grab lunch on the cheap as well as fresh produce, dairy, poultry, jewelry and even a bouquet of flowers. Vendors are open every day (except Sunday) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the Pennsylvania Dutch vendors’ hours vary. With so many options, it would be wrong to pick favorites.


Philly Flavors $
343 S. 13th St.
Check out the spread of treats for water ice and ice cream lovers. The shop is small, so it might be good to pick up some frozen treats to go. The portions are great, especially for the low prices.


Study Spots

Chapterhouse Café & Gallery $
620 S. Ninth St.
With comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi, this café is a hub for local relaxation. Sit on a stool in the front window while sipping on a delicious latte, or have an oatmeal raisin cookie sandwich while observing the café’s interesting decor.

Outside Itch

Horse and Carriage
Rides $$
Independence Hall
by Fifth Street
This is a great pastime for groups of four, dates or even when your parents come to visit. The carriage ride will take you around various historical parts of the city. The tour guides are friendly and often very chatty.


Washington Square Park (free)
Sixth St., between
Walnut and Spruce
Originally one of William Penn’s five public squares, this park has a lot of history behind it; Revolutionary War soldiers are buried here, near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Washington Square still has a lot of action, but is quieter than Rittenhouse Square, which can be perfect for that game of Frisbee or that much needed afternoon nap.


Alfresco Dining $-$$$
When the weather is nice, Philly has the tendency to turn into a mini Paris. The sidewalks are full of outdoor tables and the restaurant windows even open floor to ceiling to offer the freshest options in open-air dining.


Arts & Culture

Ten Thousand Villages $$
1122 Walnut St.
The fair-trade organization carries items from various countries like Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The money you spend here helps out artists from around the world. The products are all handcrafted and of a really great quality.


Giovanni’s Room $$
1145 Pine St.
Considered by some to be the best place to find LGBTQ literature, Giovanni’s has a huge variety of books, including a list of independent bestsellers. If it doesn’t have what you’re looking for in stock, the good-natured staff will order it for you. The store also hosts different authors for discussions, always a plus for a devoted reader.


The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent $$
15 S. 7th St.
Ever wonder what Philly was like back in the day? Look no further than this recently renovated museum! Home to two new galleries, a multimedia piece and more, the Philly History Museum will only make you love your city even more.



Blendo $$
1002 Pine St.
This is the perfect place for gift hunting, whether you’re looking for some vintage-inspired bric-a-brac or some fun (but bizarre) gifts. The store may be a bit expensive, but items like the Edgar Allen Poe action figure or the Cat Lady board game are definitely worth dropping those dollars. Maneuvering your way through the stocked space is like an adventure—you’ll never know what to expect.


Ride the Ducks $$
Sixth and Market Sts.
While near Independence Mall, you may want to play tourist for a day. Get a guided history lesson as you ride past the different sites like the Liberty Bell and South Street. Riders are also given a “quacker” noisemaker that they can use at the end of the tour.


Nuts to You $$
721 Walnut St.
This store specializes in almonds, sunflower seeds, dried fruits, yogurt covered nuts, nut mixes and classic candies like candy button strips. If you don’t feel like going all the way to the store, place your order online.


Don’t Miss

12th Street Gym $$
204 S. 12th St.


Caribou Café $$$
1126 Walnut St.


Jones Restaurant $$
700 Chestnut St.


More than Just Ice Cream $
1119 Locust St.